Whether or not you think they’re good, social experiments do produce results. Forcing people in public places to participate in some kind of test can bring out the true nature of who we are as humans. We probably wouldn’t be looking down on them so much if jerks on YouTube hadn’t started using it as an excuse to prank people on the street. Now, we get a look at a more extreme social experiment in The Belko Experiment, from screenwriter James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy).
The film follows Mike Milch (John Gallagher Jr.) who, along with 80 other Americans, work for Belko Industries in Bogotá, Colombia. What starts as a normal work day soon turns dark when a voice on the intercom instructs those inside to kill 2 people or else they will be killed at random. They initially believe this to be a prank, but when metal walls cut them off from the outside, and people’s heads begin exploding, they soon realize that this is no prank. It’s a game of kill or be killed, as those who want to go against the orders must survive those who believe killing others will ensure their survival.
Back in December, when the first trailer for the film was released, I liked it so much that I designed a fan poster for it. I decided to post it on Twitter and tagged writer James Gunn and producer Jason Blum. The next day, I saw that Gunn had seen it, retweeted it, and said that he loved it. That was one of the coolest things that ever happened to me on social media, and I knew at that point, I had to see this movie. I wanted to see it anyway, but then I felt obligated to see it. Now that I have, I was not disappointed.
The Belko Experiment is a very entertaining, and very intense, thrill ride. The thing that I loved most about it was the atmosphere. Having the whole thing take place in South America, for some reason, made the film feel a lot more terrifying. The movie was so intense that the jump scares where people’s heads exploded always got me. That’s how you know you have an effective horror film.
The other thing I loved about the movie was the chemistry among the stars. It really felt like there was a good amount of friendship between the actors, which made me care for them when their friends were killed. This is one of the things you need when making a good film: good chemistry among the actors. This way we care about them when something goes wrong.
However, not everything about this movie was great. It really wasn’t all that original. While the concept was pretty original, the film itself relied on your standard genre tropes and characters. Pretty much all of the characters were likable, except for Wendell (John C. McGinley). He seemed to only be motivated to kill by the rejection of a female worker. Other than that, he wasn’t really motivated by anything.
The Belko Experiment was a very entertaining movie. It had a lot of really exciting action, cool special effects, great chemistry among the stars, and an amazing sense of atmosphere. I am 50/50 when it comes to social experiments in real life. They can be mean, but some of them can produce information about our species that we never knew before. However, if I ever found myself in an experiment like this, I would just hide somewhere until everyone else dies. That’s my strategy.